How to Clean a Dirty CD

Опубликовал Admin
8-06-2019, 13:00
1 093
Updated: March 29, 2019 CDs that have been left out of their cases are prone to picking up dust, fingerprints, and assorted smudges, all of which can hinder their ability to play properly. Luckily, cleaning them is a cinch, and can be done with a handful of common household supplies. The most straightforward option is to wipe the underside of the disc lightly with a mild soap solution before rinsing it with clean water. If you have some rubbing alcohol lying around, you can also use it to dissolve more stubborn stuck-on residue.

Removing Dust and Light Dirt with Soap and Water

  1. Blow or wipe any loose dust from the surface of the disc. Use a canister of compressed air to dislodge the dust without having to touch the disc. If you don’t have any compressed air handy, you can also brush it off gently using a soft, lint-free cloth. Then, try playing the disc. If you’re still having problems, you may need to move on to a more intensive cleaning method.
    • When dusting a CD by hand, always work your way outward from the center of the disc to the outer edge to prevent damage avoid spreading the dust around.
    • Be sure to handle the disc delicately—if you’re not careful, you can actually scratch a CD while attempting to remove dust.
  2. Find a container large enough to submerge a CD in. A bowl with steep sides will work best, but you could also use a plastic storage container. Make sure the inside of the container is clean and completely free of dust or other debris.
    • If the container you’re using has been tucked away inside a cabinet for a while, swirl some warm water in it to rinse out any dust that may be inside before you fill it up with the soap solution.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon (4.9 ml) of mild liquid dish soap to the container. You could also pick up an all-natural cleaning liquid made with distilled water specifically for the job. It’s important to use a mild type of liquid soap, as harsher soaps may contain abrasive agents that can leave behind scratches.
    • Hand soap will get the job done as well, as long as it doesn’t have any moisturizers or other additives in it. These can leave behind a filmy residue.
  4. Fill the container with 2–3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm) of warm water. While your container is filling up, stir the soap and water together with the tips of your fingers. The two ingredients should form a nice sudsy solution.
    • Warm water works better than cold water for cleaning tasks because of its ability to soften stuck-on substances.
    • Your soap solution may bubble up quite a bit. That’s okay—you’ll be rinsing the excess off later anyway.
  5. Immerse the dirty CD in the soapy water for about a minute. This will give the solution plenty of time to begin loosening any dust or dirt remaining on the disc. Be sure to slide the CD in with the underside facing up to prevent it from rubbing against the bottom of the container.
    • If you like, you can whisk the CD slowly through the water a few times for a little extra cleaning power.
  6. Rinse the CD off under a stream of warm water. Tilt the disc at all different angles under the faucet to clear away every last bit of soap solution from both sides. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear—there should be no streaks or suds visible when you’re done.
    • Grip the CD with two fingers by the center hole and outer edge to avoid smudging it during the rinse.
  7. Repeat the process if necessary. If the disc still looks dirty, place it back in the soap solution and leave it for another minute. This time, scrub the most stubborn spots in a circular motion using the pad of one finger. They should come off easily with a little pressure.
    • If your CD doesn’t look any better after a second cleaning, it may be scratched rather than simply dirty. In this case, you’ll need to actually repair the tiny grooves in the surface.
  8. Wipe the disc dry using a lint-free cloth. After shaking off the excess water, go over both faces to pick up any remaining moisture. As before, direct your strokes outward from the center of the disc to minimize the risk of damage. When you’re finished, your CD should look and play as good as new!
    • Microfiber towels are great for drying delicate items like CDs, DVDs, and electronic components.
    • Hand-drying is preferable to air-drying, as it’s possible for water to leave spots on the surface of the disc if it’s allowed to sit for too long.

Using Rubbing Alcohol to Dissolve Heavier Messes

  1. Mix up a 1-to-1 solution of 90% isopropyl alcohol and distilled water. Pour equal amounts of the alcohol and distilled water into a shallow container, then stir or swirl them together to blend them. You don’t need to use a lot of either ingredient—2-3 ounces (59-89 mL) of each should be more than enough.
    • It's important that you use distilled water since you'll actually be buffing the disc. Tap water contains small particles that could cause scratches.
    • Rubbing alcohol is useful for cutting through thick grime and stuck-on messes like soda or food residue.
    • Diluting the acidic alcohol will keep it from eating away at the plastic surface of the CD.
  2. Dip a clean, lint-free cloth into the mixture. Fold the cloth over the tip of your pointer finger and lower it into the alcohol solution. This will let you soak up a small amount of solution and create a more precise scrubbing surface.
    • To prevent drips, allow any excess solution to drip off the cloth before you begin cleaning your dirty CD.
    • Use only a microfiber cloth, chamois, or something similar. Ordinary hand towels can easily cause scratches.
  3. Wipe the surface of the CD from the center to the outer edge. Use smooth, straight strokes and apply a moderate amount of pressure. Any foreign substances caked on the disc should vanish beneath the cloth. Continue wiping until you’ve cleaned off the entire underside of the disc.
    • If you run into a tough spot, go over it in a straight line several times rather than being tempted to rub it in a circular motion.
  4. Allow the CD to air dry. Once you’re done cleaning, hold the disc in one hand by the center hole and outer edge. The alcohol solution will evaporate within a matter of seconds, so there’s no need to use a separate cloth or towel. Give your newly-cleaned CD a spin and see how it sounds!


  • To prevent your CDs from getting dirty in the future, make sure you store them in their original jewel cases or a separate CD organizer.
  • Always inspect your CDs for scratches or other signs of wear before you resort to cleaning them. Playback issues like skipping and audio distortion are more often the result of damage than dirt, and cleaning CDs too frequently can cause problems in its own right.


  • Never use paper towels, toilet paper, or any other paper products to dry your CDs. Not only will they leave behind tiny bits of paper, they can also leave hundreds of microscopic scratches in the surface of the disc.
  • Household cleaning products like window cleaners, polishes, and stain removers should be avoided, as they tend to be highly abrasive.

Things You'll Need

Soap and Water

  • Mild liquid soap
  • Warm water
  • Large container
  • Clean, lint-free cloth

Rubbing Alcohol

  • 90% isopropyl alcohol
  • Distilled water
  • Shallow container
  • Clean, lint-free cloth
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